Nigeria To Launch $20m ICT Fund

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VENTURES AFRICA – Nigeria’s Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson, has disclosed that the government would soon launch an ICT Innovation Fund that would raise about $20 million for ICT entrepreneurs, to boost growth in the increasingly relevant sector.

According to BusinessDay, she made the disclosure on Wednesday at the 18th Nigeria Economic Summit which held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, adding that the fund would be launched in early 2013.

The minister also said that ICT which is the fourth largest contributor to Nigeria’s GDP, contributed about 5.7 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the third quarter of the year.

Nigeria’s information and computer technology sector is growing at about 29 percent, on the back of creative businesses and innovation by young Nigerian talents, faster than any other sector of the economy.

Johnson said the sector presents the best opportunities for financial empowerment to many young Nigerians who have realised its potentials.

“Skills are much easier to acquire by young people and it does not require huge capital, compared with other businesses,” Johnson said, in relation to the attraction to information and computer technology in the country.

“India is an example where ICT employs 2.5 million professionals and contributes 6.4 per of GDP, which is about 100 billion dollars for India’’, she furthered.

According to Johnson, India which shares several key similarities with Nigeria in terms of demography, GDP per capita, human development index and poverty rate has been able to develop a very strong global world class ICT sector, despite various negative economic indices.

The minister stated: “We can also do this in Nigeria despite all the challenges we have.”

According to BusinessDay, the country’s ministry of communication is also collaborating with the banking and oil and gas industries to launch its software development initiative, Techlaunch Pad.

Johnson said that the initiative, which would be launched on Monday, and would present software developers opportunities in more established businesses and industries.